The never-ending question
On Monday, Jan. 24, Athletes in Action and Campus for Christ held a formal debate at the University of Regina arguing the existence of God. The debate was held in the Classroom building where atheist Dr. George Williamson squared off against Micheal Horner, who argued in favour of the existence of God.
Arriving to the lecture I expected few people, and to be preached to by those who were there. However, the lecture theatre was completely full, even though I was 15 minutes early. This intrigued me enough to ask a few students whether they were there on their own time or for a class they were taking. Almost every single person I spoke to was there on his or her own time. It makes sense; we all want to know – as students, as individuals, even as a society, – who or what to believe in.
The debate was run in a traditional format, giving both Williamson and Horner the chance to present a persuasive argument and a rebuttal. This was followed by an open questioning period moderated by fourth-year student Brad Aspinal. Aspinal provided comical relief between arguments that broke the tension in the room.
Both speakers provided great evidence for their respective side; however, I personally believe the result of the debate was a stalemate.
I went into the lecture with an open mind, in hopes that Horner would be able to shed new light on my beliefs in God. That did not happen. I found Horner’s mathematical and scientific evidence to be even more discouraging to my beliefs in a God. I thought believing in God was having faith in someone, something, a higher power – like a kid that believes in Santa. Though I found Horner’s evidence discouraging, he was able to argue his points in a very educated, persuading manner.
While Horner’s evidence was persuading, I found Williamson’s argument to be intriguing. If there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why did God let others write down His standards we are to abide by? Why is the Bible just another ordinary book? These are questions we will never know the answers to, just like the existence of God.
Once the questioning began, you could tell both speakers had put both of their messages into everyone’s heads; leaving most confused as to what they should believe. As people asked questions, things began to get heated. The confusion and the unknown brought many students to the microphone to ask questions they were dying to know. Unfortunately, some “questions” turned out to be rants on personal perspectives, but most questions were well thought out.
Leaving the lecture, I still felt confused about which side to pick, and I still do now. Nobody can tell us what to believe in, and I feel no one can truly argue the existence of God. Who actually knows? Like our morals and beliefs, isn’t God just another thing we are raised to believe in? Horner did mention that “Lacking belief is not enough to not believe in God,” which makes sense; but lack of evidence makes me uncertain, and it’s hard to believe in something/someone you don’t know.
Though I personally was still conflicted as to who actually won the argument, students voted on whom they felt had won the debate. Twenty per cent felt the atheist had won, 54 per cent voted for the existence of God, while 26 per cent thought it was a stalemate – at least I’m not the only one confused.